Caught Being Good?

“Grandma, look! I was caught being good!”  my youngest grandson announced with a broad smile showing off an award ribbon years ago when he was in elementary school.

“What was that?” I responded, thinking I had misunderstood him.

But I hadn’t.  He received the ribbon from a teacher on the playground who noticed he picked up trash and put it in a nearby can.

His school had begun a program, Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (See PBIS.org), where they taught behaviorial expectations like they would any other core curriculum. There are many facets involved to make such a program successful, but the underlying tenet is respecting yourself and others. Students who met these positive expectations in and out of the classroom were rewarded with badges.

Before you begin to construct your argument against such a program, let’s just agree that shame-based approaches don’t feel good nor have appeared to work well for humans or animals. There is research to back this up, but simply put, when we reward a person for a desired behavior they tend to repeat it.

I wish my elementary teachers (and mother) had known about and used this technique. Thankfully, I managed to grow up to be a positive person in spite of occasional spankings, being sent to the corner, being shamed, and other painful experiences that reinforced my undesirable behavior. Negative reinforcement did not bring about positive results for some of my friends and relatives.

I suspect it would be a better world if we looked for and rewarded desirable, loving, and kind behavior. Focusing on the positive would be the end of news as the media currently presents it, but what would that world be like. 

A number of people have wondered the same thing, and decided to focus on the desirable, the beautiful, and successful in the world. 

Mariette Pan celebrates the good in heart shapes she discovers

Learn more from Mariette’s book, Gratitude Rocks: Manifesting Passion, Purpose, & Prosperity… One Heart at a Time

Louie Schwartzberg celebrates the good in fungi

The fungal-fantastical. Emerging from their axial homes, fungi are beginning to be understood as nutrients to the human consciousness and ecological sustainability. Paul explores mycology and compels support for your own good nature and our fungal allies. This is the first in a collaboration of Louie Schwartzberg of Blacklight films ( http://bit.ly/FantasticFungi ) and Paul Stamets of Fungi Perfecti ( http://fungi.net ).

 

Starbucks celebrates the good that ordinary people do to improve their communities

Upstanders is an original collection of short stories, films and podcasts sharing the experiences of Upstanders – ordinary people doing extraordinary things to create positive change in their communities. Produced by Howard Schultz and Rajiv Chandrasekaran, the Upstanders series helps inspire us to be better citizens.

 

Rick Charlie celebrates the good he found in his life story

He tells it in this interview by Jonathan Fields.  

 

How do you celebrate the good in your life and the world?
Tell us below in Speak Your Mind


 

 

Flow with the Seasons of Your Life

Shortly after birth of my son in 1975

Shortly after birth of my third child, my son, in 1975

When my children were young we discovered what it meant to flow with the seasons of life.  My husband and I had full-time careers, but our four children were at the center of our planning.  It was our childrearing season. We flowed with that season.

When we remodeled our kitchen we asked the designer to put in a work island. He cautioned us that our space didn’t allow for the preferred clearance around the work island. I insisted that we move ahead, however, because while the designer was thinking of a place for meal preparation and eating, we were visualizing it as a family center. 

We were right.  On week nights it was a wonderful spot for completing homework assignments and craft projects. On weekends it became the family cooking center. Sundays after church we’d experiment with new recipes from the  food section of the newspapers. The kids enjoyed  chopping, grating, measuring, pouring, of course, taste testing. One of those recipes was such a hit with us that decades later it is still our favorite dish.

I successfully completed the season of childrearing and have enjoyed a number of other seasons since.

Right now I am in a season of mourning.

My 40-year-old son, Herbert Thomas Brown, III,  died of a massive heart attack on January 24, 2016. He is the beautiful baby I’m holding in the image above. I learned in my grief support group that grief and mourning are not the same thing. While “grief” is the internal thoughts and feelings I have about my son, “mourning” is expressing how I feel on the outside, like talking about him here, crying, and celebrating his life on anniversary dates and throughout the year.

Even though at times I feel like I’m trampling through a strange new land without my familiar landmarks, slowed by tears and pain, I’m staying open as I continue to move forward on my unique journey through grief. Joining a support group is one part of my mourning and puts my grief in perspective, encouraging me to move at my own pace and in my own way to my eventual healing.  

Another help has been reflective moments and meditations like the one below. 

Your life, too, goes in seasons.

Throw your energy and efforts into the season you are currently living, rather than fighting against it. Resist the temptation to look back to a season that has passed or forward to one whose time has not come. Be fully in the season you are in, completing the activities that go with it. 

Perhaps you are in your spring season, attending college, completing an internship, entering a new relationship, welcoming a new baby into your family or reinventing your life. Open yourself to all the potential of the seeds you are planting in this season to create a firm foundation for the time when you will bloom.

Or perhaps you are in a cold and damp wintry season, at the end of a job, facing a scary medical diagnosis, feeling the loss of a relationship or  the start of an uncertain new way of life. Examine what you need to remove from your life and what you need to gather to expedite the growth. Be patient with yourself as you grieve the loss or embrace the change and know that the new growth that is not yet visible is forming and preparing you to emerge to a full harvest.

To curse the season you are in is not productive. It keeps you stuck and makes you resentful. The worse part is you miss the beauty and gift of your current season and its potential for happiness. Notice the season you are in and flow with it.

What season are you in? What are you doing to flow with it? Tell us in the comments.

Avoid Regrets by Making Time for Your Happiness

happiness

This is one of the inspirational cards from the deck of Everyday Happiness. Get more information and order here.

When asked on their deathbeds what they regret, people often mention opportunities they missed out of fear, hesitance, or too much time spent working and earning money. Avoid letting this happen to you.

Even though we get to choose how we react to events and opportunities, too many of us look for what’s wrong in this world, and choose to be unhappy, miserable, and even angry. This is easy to do if we count on the news to set our happiness meter. After all,  we have trained the news media to focus on negative events by giving our attention to these that in turn boost their ratings and profits.

Every month of the year has a day dedicated to celebrating happiness.  August, for example,  is Admit You’re Happy Month. If you haven’t been celebrating your happiness this month, it’s not too late. Make it a habit to choose happiness so you will have no regrets at the end of your life.

If you have the health, freedom, and flexibility denied so many in the world, you have much to be grateful for. Being less than happy doesn’t serve anyone.

Here are ten simple ways to begin making time for your happiness.

1. Take the Happiness Pledge

Each day when I awake and discover I’m still alive,
I know I have another chance to grow, to learn, to thrive.
So as I enter the world anew I will bypass the door marked CRAPPY
And with a smile on my face and a song in my heart,
Walk through the door marked HAPPY.

2. Check out the world’s first 24 hour music video by Pharrell Williams.

3. Let this infographic take you from grumpy to happy in just a few minutes

4. The only secret to happiness is that there is no secret. We must each find out own version http://www.wikihow.com/Be-Happy

5. Schedule activities that make you happy, boost your self-esteem, or make you feel empowered. Then keep your appointment with yourself.

6. Engage in activities that relieve stress and help you relax, such as the
popular coloring trend.

7. Celebrate someone else’s success.

8. Do a random act of kindness.

9. Silence your smartphone and be here now.

  • If you’re in a conversation, really listen to the other person.
  • Attending a concert or movie? Put your full attention on the music and action.

10. For hundreds more ideas and tips on embracing happiness, handling change, and creating the life you want, get a copy of , Color Your Life Happy: Create Your Unique Path and Claim the Joy You Deserve, 2nd edition.

 Click on the video below to get a taste of what to expect. I won’t tell anyone you were tapping your toe along with the music.

Tell us in the comments what you’ll do to avoid having regrets.

Celebrate “Color Your Life Happy Day”–Make Happiness a Habit

ColorYourLifeHappy.com

My mom was really surprised when I picked her up in a limo for a Mother’s Day Brunch one year.

Did you make New Year’s resolutions?

If you stuck to them, congratulations. If you’re like most of us, however, those resolutions evaporated from your consciousness in a few weeks.

Regardless of how you fared in this annual practice, here’s an opportunity to start anew, but with just one resolution: make happiness a habit.

What is Color Your Life Happy Day?

August 9th “Color Your Life Happy Day”, is a day to participate in something you enjoy, some activity that will make you happy and others too. Then make a decision to make it a habit to continue finding joy, pleasure, and a way to help others for the rest of the year.

Happiness is not a destination, but the things we do along the way as we live our lives. At the end of their lives, many wish they had slowed down, worked less, and spent more time enjoying family, friends and fun activities. Don’t let this be you.

Regrets are a waste. Do the things that bring you and others joy and happiness everyday.

The Origin of Color Your Life Happy Day

This special celebration was inspired by the memory of my mother, Mildred S. Morris, who would have turned 106 years old this year  (she passed at age 92 in 2002.) She was a hairstylist by trade, but spent her life making people happy with her music. She played piano and organ from childhood through her mid 80’s for many churches, organizations and events. Everyone who ever heard her play was touched by her lively and fervent style.

How to Participate

Please join me in starting to make happiness a habit on Color Your Life Happy Day, August 9th.

        You may choose to

      • take time off to read a book you’ve longed to finish
      • join the courageous who decide to get control of the clutter that has been making them very unhappy
      • rent a Harley or Segway to go for a fun ride
      • become a tourist in your own town and visit a museum or other local treasure you’ve never seen
      • visit a local convalescent home to spend some time with a resident who never gets visitors.

 

Color Your Life Happy Day, is not just for today, but every day.

Take a picture showing your happiness habit and post it on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest or Facebook using the  hashtag #coloryourlifehappy.

Remember, it doesn’t have to be grand or spectacular by anyone else’s standards. It just has to be something that makes you and/or others happy.

I’m looking forward to the wonderful array of photos. Don’t forget the hashtag #coloryourlifehappy

How to Get More Happiness Ideas

paperbackbookstanding_849x1126(2)Want help coming up with happiness habits?

Here are a few from my book, Color Your Life Happy: Create Your Unique Path and Claim the Joy You Deserve:

      • dance or sing to music you enjoy
      • volunteer for a cause you believe in
      • connect with a pet
      • savor the moment you’re in
      • say “yes” to yourself
      • create something
      • reduce stress and relax by coloring the creative activities in Color Your Life Happy Coloring Book for Adults  Create Space Cover

 

 

 

 

For more detailed guidance on handling change and adversity,  harmonizing family and work, and creating the life you want and deserve, go to Amazon and get the paperback or ebook at http://amzn.to/2aAZH8D

How to Promote the Happiness Habit

In 2015 I rolled out the awesome Color Your Life Happy custom t-shirt.  If you missed the launch, no worries.You can still order the beautiful t-shirt at http://teespring.com/color-your-life-happy-t-shirt 


It’s available in sizes small through 5XL and three
other colors: gold, lime and white.

What a great way to support the right to happiness
we all deserve.

This is a Limited Edition custom shirt. The original campaign has ended, but you can still get one. Just go to http://teespring.com/color-your-life-happy-t-shirt and click I still want one!

The suggested retail price is $29.99, but I’ve discounted it when you buy it now at http://teespring.com/color-your-life-happy-t-shirt

Consider buying an extra one for a gift and be sure to tell your friends, family and colleagues on social media to join us. Again, the link is http://teespring.com/color-your-life-happy-t-shirt

 

Coloring Books for Adults are Popular , but Where Do You Fit In?

 

Coloring books, once a favorite pastime for children, have captivated adults around the world. Regardless of what you feel about this phenomenon, coloring books for adults have pushed their way to bestseller status, among the top 20 books across all genres.

Where did this adult coloring book craze begin?

In 2013, UK-based Scottish artist and illustrator Johanna Basford convinced her editor to let her create a coloring book for adults instead of children as they had requested. Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book was her first and sold over a million copies.

Following her success, adult coloring book sales from many publishers exploded at online retailers, as well as brick and mortar hobby, art supply, fabric and discount stores.   (I recently saw the Lonely Planet coloring book in my local Automobile Club.) Popular series such as Outlander, Dr. Who, Game of Thrones, and Harry Potter were soon publishing their own themed coloring books. Even serious artworks like Thomas Kinkade now have coloring books inviting us to try our version of these popular art pieces.

Coloring for adults is not new. In the early 20th century, noted psychologist Carl G. Jüng had his patients color mandalas, geometric designs that have their origin in India.

Then there were the coloring books of the 1960’s that made fun of an array of social concerns such as  J.F.Kennedy, the red scare, mental illness and  communists.

“Dover Publications, founded in 1941 publishing reissues, created their first coloring book for adults , Antique Automobiles Antique Automobiles Coloring Book, in 1970,”said Vice President of Marketing, Kristine Anderson in a phone conversation.

 

What helped the 21st century coloring book sales skyrocket?

Noticing a growing interest in coloring books,  Dover created a new line, Creative Haven, in 2012. This  series has over 100 titles with themes ranging from mandalas to fashion. In 2015 Dover declared August 2nd  National Coloring Book Day and encouraged colorists to host coloring parties. One of those coloring book party hosts was Chicago resident Mary-Winters-Myers.

Seeing the growing interest among other colorists, Mary started a public Facebook group, https://www.facebook.com/groups/ColoringBooksForAdults/,  in January 2015 and published her own coloring book, Dragons, Knots, Bots and More!, in April 2015.

By April the membership of her Facebook group had grown to 300.  She was interviewed for an NBC nightly News story on coloring, and even though her segment didn’t get aired, 175 people a day began flocking to her Facebook group quickly taking her membership to 17,000. At last count her group has 43,262 members.

Social media sites like Facebook and Pinterest helped to fuel the flames of the coloring book trend. As groups gather in local neighborhood coffee shops, libraries, parks and any venue with space for tables and chairs, colorists are gathering and later framing and displaying their work.

What is beneficial about coloring books for adults?

Coloring relieves stress and lessens anxiety.

Lucy Fyles, former UK psychiatric inpatient nursing assistant, for example, was seeking comfort for her own severe anxiety disorder. She discovered that focusing on creative activities calmed and relieved her anxiety.  While working with psychiatric patients, she saw that they enjoyed using coloring books.  Now housebound, she reviews adult coloring books from her blog https://colouringinthemidstofmadness.wordpress.com/


As the trend has continued, filling in pretty designs with owls, cats, and mandalas just doesn’t do it for everybody. That’s why coloring books with swear words shot to the top of the online coloring book sales.

 

Coloring promotes co-creation with the artist.

In a Yahoo News article, Canadian artist Steve McDonald  talks about moving from fabulous cityscapes in art galleries to coloring books.  It was the urging of his children that caused him to embrace creating coloring books as a way to get colorists to become co-creators. Instead of creating just one piece of art to hang in a gallery, he is reaching people around the world.

Coloring promotes wellness by helping people loosen up.

Colorado resident Tammi Hoerner earned a degree in graphic design but started a career as a wellness coach instead. After writing her print book Lessons for Mom Positive Living – Attainable Wellness for Modern Moms she searched for tools to help her clients laugh, play and have fun.  The result are two complementary coloring books.

What is harmful about coloring books for adults?

Coloring masquerades as psychotherapy or art therapy.

Everyone is not convinced of the healing benefits of adult coloring. In a June 13, 2015 Psychology Today article,  ” Are You Having a Relationship with an Adult Coloring Book?” Cathy Malchiodi, art therapist and psychotherapist,  believes coloring creates mindfulness, relieves stress, and compares to art therapy.  She said, “While I have no doubt that many colorists “feel better” after a session with a coloring book and even a group coloring fest, it is not art therapy by any definition.”

Coloring distracts us from facing the real world problems.

Susan Jacoby, author of The Age of American Unreason,” looks to the bible line, ‘When I was a child, I thought as a child, but as an adult, I put away childish things,’  to support her belief that coloring books promote escapism and keep us from facing the world around us.

Coloring mandalas unknowingly lures Christians into New Age practices.

In the The Last Hiker, the blogger warns Christians that coloring mandalas is dangerous.  She asks ” . . .is it about spiritual hosts of wickedness sneaking mandalas into our homes and into our subconscious minds?. Sh. .Is it really about recreation or is it New Age evangelism?

Coloring patterns and designs created by others is not true art.

Even though coloring book creators promise you don’t have to stay within the lines, purists believe that true art is created on a blank sheet or canvas using the imagination of the artist and his favorite tools.

Now it’s your turn to confess where you stand on the coloring book trend. Where do you fit in? Tell us in the comments if you see coloring as beneficial or harmful.